Divinity: Original Sin 2 on Switch is a portable CRPG masterpiece

Simply divine.

Divinity: Original Sin 2 is easily one of the most highly regarded games of the last decade. It’s not the game that put Larian Studios on the map, but in tandem with the first Original Sin, it saw the studio hone in on some downright excellent role-playing in an expansive, immersive and inventive fantasy setting.

Oh, and now you can play it on the go on a Nintendo Switch.

Announced and launched during the Nintendo Direct earlier this month, Larian has taken the full depth and breadth of Divinity: Original Sin II Definitive Edition and brought it to the Nintendo Switch. It’s yet another remarkable example of just how much Nintendo’s handheld can actually pull off with enough care and attention.

In our 9/10 review of the Definitive Edition that landed on consoles and the PC version was update to last year, Steve heralded it as “almost certainly the finest RPG experience on the current generation of consoles.” All of the excellent work done in bringing the game to consoles with the Definitive Edition last year has carried forward.

In particular, given the complexity of a CRPG, it features a flexible control scheme that just takes a little while to get used to. It defaults to direct control over your lead character, but you can also switch to point and click for movement and interaction by clicking in the left analogue stick. You’ve got the various character management tabs in summonable radial menus via the two triggers, and a customisable action and item hotbar along the bottom of the screen. The only place I really initially stumbled is in remembering to bring up that hotbar, instead of just using the D-pad and unintentionally drawing my weapons, and pressing the wrong face button to do so. That’s more on my head than it is Larian’s, though, and something that fades away after a short while.

Divinity: Original Sin II is a very different challenge for the Switch hardware than other exciting and remarkable ports like Wolfenstein II and the upcoming The Witcher III. Though it’s obviously a huge game with well over a hundred hours of content, filled with different locations to explore and with fully voiced characters throughout, the angled aerial camera means that your view is relatively constrained and that helps to keep the game feeling wonderfully smooth – it’s 30fps with only occasional very minor dips when engaging a new conversation or pulling of an effects-heavy magical move. It’s also a more considered experience than a fast-paced first-person shooter or the action RPG combat of The Witcher – the turn-based battles wouldn’t be affected by frame rate hitches or drops, and those that are here are practically unnoticeable.

The game employs dynamic resolution scaling to help with this, which Larian peg as typically sitting around 648p when handheld and 720p when docked. It’s appreciably closer to native resolution in handheld mode. The UI is then overlaid on top of this at 720p in handheld and 900p on TV, which ensures that key information and menus in the game are nice and readable. Some text and pop-ups are on the cusp of being a bit too small on the Switch, but really it’s more about density than anything else. Hopping over to the Switch Lite, and it’s all still perfectly readable on the smaller 5.5″ screen. Maybe you’ll find yourself holding the Switch Lite slightly closer to your face, but that’s about it.

Impressively, the game has been squeezed down to just 10.9GB, around 40% of the game size on other platforms, and again, that’s with all of the voice acting and audio intact. Though the camera’s always angled down, you can rotate and zoom in to get closer to the ground and character. It’s close up that you see the lowered texture quality and detail in the world, the dithered, but still fairly impressive shadowing, and so on. It still looks rather good, with a brightness and vibrancy to Fort Joy, the first location you really get to explore. Regardless, you’ll be spending most of your time zoomed out most of the way anyway.

A great thing for those who are already fans of the game is that you won’t necessarily have to start all over again. That’s thanks to cross-save support between Switch and Steam, letting you take your characters, your story progress and all your hard-earned loot with you on the go and back again. It’s easy to set up; just log in to your Steam account and then the game automatically downloads and syncs saves when you have an online connection.

That’s simply quite fantastic to have, but also manages to highlight that it’s a feature sadly in isolation. There’s no save swapping with the PS4 or Xbox One versions, via Steam or otherwise, and there’s also no cross-platform multiplayer. We don’t yet live in a world where taking your saves and gaming sessions to whatever platform you want is the norm.

Divinity: Original Sin II Definitive Edition is another in a growing list of outstanding ports to Nintendo Switch. It’s everything that you can get on other platforms, but now you can take it (and your Steam save) to play wherever you want.

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